Preparing Your Child’s Body and Soul for Sunday School

As a teacher, I really appreciate when students come to Sunday school readily prepared in both body and soul. Many parents are already doing a great job in this regard. But it’s amazing how the little things that are overlooked can cause big disruptions in the classroom: a child who needs a bathroom break during the lesson; an overly tired 10-year-old; a fidgety six-year-old who’s had too much sugar; a child who is anxious because getting ready for church put the whole family on edge; etc. A little foresight and planning will go a long way toward serving your children’s overall experience in the classroom.

Preparing the Body 

  • Establish a Saturday evening routine for helping your children get their clothes, Bibles, and other things ready. As much as possible, plan your schedule to allow enough time for a good night’s sleep.
  • Make sure your children eat a good breakfast on Sunday morning (please don’t sugar them up). A hungry child is usually inattentive and cranky—and I don’t blame him!
  • Have your children leave any and all electronic devices with you or in the car. Better yet, leave them at home. (Consider doing the same with your devices—a technology Sabbath of sorts. Your actions often have more influence than your words).
  • Allow time for your child to use the restroom before class.  
  • If it’s a long morning (worship service plus Sunday school), provide your children with a quick snack or drink of water in between.
  • Bring your child to class on time.

And remember: When dropping your children off at their classes, be sure to convey a sense of appreciation and thankfulness to the classroom volunteers. Your children are watching and listening; you are serving as a model for them as they enter the classroom.

Preparing the Soul

Remember to continually do the following throughout the year:

  • Impress upon your child the immeasurable importance of receiving instruction from God’s holy Word.
  • Guide, encourage, and challenge your child to rightly respond to the instruction they will receive. 

Here are some tangible suggestions for doing this:

  • At the beginning of a new Sunday school year, spend time talking about the importance of knowing and understanding God’s Word—the most important instruction of all! Read and talk about passages like these: 2 Timothy 3:15-17; John 20:31; Psalm 19:7-11; Psalm 119:12-16.
  • Take a visible interest in your child’s Sunday school instruction. Take time to review and discuss lessons. Go beyond merely recalling facts and details. Encourage personal application: What does mean for your life? How should you respond to God? What is He calling you to think, be, and do? If you take a deep interest in what is taught, your child will be more likely to do so, too. (Truth78 provides take-home pages for each of our curricula lessons to help you do this.)
  • Use the travel time to church as a means of creating a spiritual atmosphere. For example: Pray together, recite Bible memory verses, sing worship songs, or listen to a worship CD, etc.
  • Pray with and for your child before class each week. Ask the Lord to give your child an attentive mind, a tender heart, and a submissive spirit toward God and His Word. Pray that the Holy Spirit would be at work to nurture genuine faith in Christ and give your child a greater love for Christ and a growing desire to follow His ways. 
  • Talk to your child and pray with him regarding having a humble heart that looks to the needs of others in the classroom. (See Philippians 2:3.) Encourage your child to be a blessing in the way he speaks and acts toward his teachers and other students.

I can’t wait to get into the classroom again. I love teaching the next generation about “the glorious deeds of the LORD, and his might, and the wonders that he has done” (Psalm 78:4)—especially the wonders of the gospel of Jesus! Parents, you play a vital role in assisting teachers in doing this by preparing your children for Sunday school.